IDP to acquire British Council’s IELTS business in India

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IDP and British Council, two partners of IELTS, the world’s most popular high-stakes English language test, have announced today that British Council will sell its IELTS business in India to IDP.

This means that all IELTS tests in India will be delivered by IDP.

Under the terms of the agreement, IDP will acquire 100 per cent of British Council’s India IELTS business for £130 million on a debt free, cash free basis.  The terms also outline that British Council employees working on IELTS in India will become part of the IDP team. The transaction is subject to customary conditions with completion expected to occur in August.

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is the world’s most popular English language test for study and migration and is trusted by more than 10,000 organisations around the world as a secure and reliable indicator of English language proficiency.

One of the key benefits of this sale is that customers will see continuity of the test they know and trust.

Andrew Barkla, CEO of IDP, said, “This agreement marks the start of a new chapter for IELTS in India.”

“By bringing together two expert teams, test takers can feel confident they are getting the best experience possible when taking their world-leading test,” Mr Barkla said.

“Our test takers can focus on preparing for their test as planned, and our team is here to make sure everything goes smoothly on test day,” he said.

“IELTS’ 30-year history and global partnership model means it has globally-standardised quality and integrity processes already built into every centre’s operations,” he added.

Mr Barkla said this agreement will help many people in India reignite their global goals.

“This agreement will see us move forward with expert teams, a strong strategy and a large geographic footprint across India,” he said.

“Together we are well-placed to help more people in India take the first step in achieving their global study, work and career ambitions.”

Kate Ewart-Biggs, Interim CEO of British Council, reiterated its commitment to its broader services in India.

“Distributing IELTS solely through IDP in India will simplify and improve the customer experience for IELTS test takers. As IDP already delivers IELTS in India, the high-quality service provided to IELTS customers will remain the same.”

“To ensure we could continue to deliver on our global cultural relations mission, we explored strategic options for the English examinations business with IDP in India in 2020. The proceeds of the sale will enable British Council to improve its financial position following the impact of COVID-19 on our finances,” Ms Ewart-Biggs said.

“Our wider British Council work will continue in India. We remain committed to realising our goal of building trust and understanding between the United Kingdom and India through arts, education, assessment and the English language.”

“We would like to recognise the hard work of our staff across India who have worked tirelessly for many years and especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our leading British Council IELTS teams in India, now transitioning to IDP, who put their heart and soul into delivering safe and trusted testing services year on year.”